China has stepped up its tight grip on the internet with the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) ordering anyone wishing to run TV shows or other content on the internet to apply for a licence before broadcasting online, China Radio International reports. The new policy came as a heavy blow to the currently unlicensed audio-video services available online. Websites which have purchased copyright licences directly from distributors will also find it difficult to broadcast content because it effectively means only state-approved TV stations and cinemas will be able to import content for webcasting. The Chinese government began issuing online video broadcasting licenses to internet sites in January 2008. SARFT has closed a total of 341 audio-video sites for containing ‘low-brow’ content, according to Xinhua News Agency.